Fruit trees bring a fresh touch to your garden, with fruit that will not only please your eyes but also your taste buds! Do not worry about space limitations, fruit trees also come in small sizes or as bushes. Your nurseryman will give you useful and practical advice. Be aware that planting techniques vary depending on the presentation of the chosen tree. 

To create an easy-to-maintain orchard without many pruning constraints, we recommend trees of “cattail”, “goblet” or “spindle” shape. Also, if you arrange your trees in espalier shapes, you will be forced to trim them regularly. Furthermore, avoid large standard trees for which harvest is hazardous. Some trees need to be held up by stakes to withstand winds and remain well-rooted in the ground. Also, think about getting rid of weeds. To that end, pine bark can be laid down around the base of the plant following planting.

The ideal time period for planting fruit trees 

Like other ornamental plants, fruit trees are more likely to resume growth after planting if you plant them in autumn or at the beginning of winter. In reality, this would allow the tree to take the winter to better acclimate to its new environment, before fully developping during the spring. But this theory mostly applies to vulnerable trees. For most bare-rooted fruit trees, the planting season runs from October to April. However, fruit trees grown in containers can be planted all year round.

Choose a sunny or partially shaded spot for your fruit tree, preferably one that is sheltered from winds. If you have selected several cross-pollinating trees, such as pear and apple trees, lump together several plants in the same space. This will stimulate the natural movement of pollen, leading to your trees’ flowering.

The planting pit and pruning process

The planting hole should be dug well before buying your fruit tree. Firstly, this will allow you to better assess the location of your tree and, secondly, to prepare the best possible soil to accommodate it. The pit’s depth varies depending on the pruning of the tree. On average, plan for a depth of 27.5 – 31.5 inches. To facilitate rooting, it is necessary to enrich the planting hole with manure two weeks prior to planting.  You can also use bonemeal or any other organic product.

The trick is to prune your fruit tree as soon as it is purchased from the nursery. However, if you intend to store your tree for a few days, we recommend that you wait until the day of planting before trimming it. For goblets, simply cut the little branches 12 inches away from their starting point. The same also applies to fan-shaped plants. To preserve your bare-root tree before planting, place the subject in a temporary pit and water frequently. For trees in containers, moisten abundantly before planting. For certain species, a one hour soak is recommended to prepare the roots before planting.

Planting fruit trees 

Balled trees do not present many problems. Simply place the rootball in the planting hole. The net’s knot is easily undone and, if the need arises, also remove the metal shell. It is not necessary to remove the netting since it is biodegradable. Just spread it at the bottom of the hole. Then bring back some soil so as to bury the rootball.

For trees in containers, use pruning shears to open the pot. Then, gently move your fingers through the lower roots to unravel them. Once the soil is returned, the top of the mound must be at ground level.

If your fruit tree comes with bare roots, a preliminary coating treatment will be necessary. This step consists of soaking the roots in a mixture of water and peat for 30 minutes. You can optionally add manure. Next, place the plant in the planting pit, making sure to properly spread the roots. Bring back soil to cover up the plant.

In all cases, it is necessary to loosen the soil before placing your plant in the pit, thus guaranteeing faster root implementation. For the final step, gently tamp the root ball with both feet, without attempting to compact it. If you leave too many open spaces, the roots will rot very quickly when subsequently watered. If you over pack the soil, you will suffocate the roots.

Properly watering your fruit tree 

Upon planting, abundant watering is necessary to compact the soil naturally. Proceed with a large watering can and 2 pints of water. Then, water your tree once a week with 2 to 3 pints of water. During heat waves, increase the frequency of watering and reduce the volume of water used each time.

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  5. Cultivating almond trees

Published in Orchard by Alexander on 04 Jul 2011